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tv   Fareed Zakaria GPS  CNN  April 11, 2021 10:00am-11:00am PDT

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this is "gps," the global public square. welcome to all of you in the united states and around the world. i'm fareed zakaria coming to you live from new york. we'll begin today's show with the world's biggest global companies. many of them pay little in taxes in many of the nations where they do business. the biden administration has a plan to change that.
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>> i'm sick and tired of ordinary people being fleeced. >> some companies say bring it on. others are upset. i'll talk to the deputy secretary of the treasury, wally adeyemo, about that, infrastructure and much more. then, can the u.s. and iran get back to the negotiating table to talk about the nuclear deal? well, the first steps in the process actually happened this week in vienna. we'll have a debate on whether the u.s. should even reengage. also, the incredibly awkward game of musical chairs in turkey this week that left one female official without a seat. what that scene says about turkey's continuing slide away from democracy. but first here is my take. a few months after covid-19
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burst onto the world stage, it is clear why some countries were doing well and some poorly. places with strong effective governments china, taiwan, singapore, uae and germany and places with dysfunctional bureaucracies. america, britain, italy, brazil, did poorly. but now one year into the pandemic, the situation is somewhat more complicated. many european countries that had gotten the virus under control have now seen sharp spikes in cases. some countries that were pummelled by the virus have done very well with vaccinations. how to make sense of these new facts. well, it remains true that the single strongest ingredient to successfully handle the pandemic has been strong and effective governmental institutions, particularly in the public health domain. but it turns out that is not enough. in addition to the state, we should take a look at society.
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michelle gelfer, the cultural psychologist from the university of maryland, has long argued that key distinction is whether countries have tight or loose cultures. she recently wrote a book on the subject called "rule makers, rule breakers." tight cultures like china tend to be highly respectful of rules and norms. loose ones like the u.s. tend to defy and break them. in a january 2021 paper in the lancet planetary health, she and several colleagues studied 57 countries and concluded that loose countries had five times the rate of covid cases an nine times the rate of covid deaths as tight countries. she points out that this distinction between rule observant versus rule breaking socie societies which first observed
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by many scholars over the centuries but she's tried to study the phenomenon systematically and determine the consequences of these cultural traits n. march 2020, as the pandemic was growing, she warned that loose cultures like the u.s. were likely to have a hard time unless they managed to tighten up. the numbers speak for themselves. when looking at cumulative deaths per million among large countries, loose cultures such as the u.k., u.s., brazil and mexico have been some of the worst performers. tight cultures like those in east asia, taiwan, japan, singapore, vietnam, wouldn't even register on that graph. she did not claim that it is rooted in inate differences between east and west, but rather are a product of historical realities. societies that have faced chronic threats, war, invasion, famine, plagues tend to develop tight cultures in which following rules becomes a mode of survival. think of taiwan, constantly under the threat of chinese
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military intervention, versus the united states, sheltered by two vast oceans and two benign neighbors. places that have been secure for a long time tend to become more lax about observing norms. this distinction between state and society sheds light on europe. in many european countries like germany and france, the state functions well. as a result, they were able to crush the curve after the first wave, but eventually people got weary of following the rules in emmanuel macron's phrase. in france, social distancing broke down during the august vacation period. in germany people decided to gather for festivities a few months later. the result, covid spikes. the vaccine rollout highlights another dimension of this phenomenon. some of the loosest countries
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which poorly in managing the pandemic through measures like social distancing and chili and oergs were the most dynamic in procuring an distributing the vaccine. so the very traits that made it hard to follow social distancing rules were the ones that helped generate the technological solution to the problem and now the countries are benefitting from that creativity, risk-taking and rule-breaking. this is not a case of one trait being better than the other she said. whether you are a country, a company or even a family, sometimes you want to be tight, sometimes loose. the key is, do you know how to move from one side of the spectrum to the other. she points out that new zealand generally considered a loose country, tightened up when confronting covid. greece under the leadership of a prime minister did the same. gelfand added the goal should be to be amid e..errous, tight or
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lose depending on the problem we face. go to for a link to my column this week. and let's get started. ♪ ♪ when donald trump was inaugurated, america had one of the highest corporate income tax rates in the world. he slashed the rate from 35% to 21%. trump said he did it to make the u.s. more competitive against other countries, europe for example, has an average corporate tax rate of just 20%. but treasury secretary janet yellen said this week the world needs to get out of this race to the bottom on taxes. she wants rich nations to agree on a global minimum corporate tax rates so companies can't shop around for low tax rates or stash profits overseas. wally adeyemo is my guest, he's the nigerian-born deputy secretary of the united states
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department of treasury, the first black person to hold that office. mr. deputy secretary, pleasure to have you on. let me begin by asking you first about the infrastructure bill. there are people who have argued, larry somers among them, that you know well, that the covid relief package was much larger than was necessary for it to fill the outward gap the u.s. economy faced. the infrastructure bill most people agree is right size or even too small given the massive deferred maintenance on american infrastructure and yet this is the one on which the administration has signaled it is willing to compromise. how low are you going to go? is there a red line below which you will not agree to have it -- this infrastructure bill whittled down? >> fareed, let me start out by saying thank you for having me.
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it's good to be with you today. the president has been clear in terms of his desire to do two things. one, make sure that we defeat covid-19, and that is why the rescue plan was so critical to the u.s. economy. and we're already starting to see the impact on the economy as we see job growth in the united states return, but there is still a long way to go. we recognize that, in addition to making sure that we rescue the united states economy from covid-19, that we start to plan for an economy post the pandemic. and think about how we grow jobs going forward. the infrastructure plan or the jobs bill the president he's introducing has three primary goals. one, creating good paying jobs in america. two, improving our competitiveness and three expanding economic potential. the president has a plan on what it looks like and how we pay for and we're interested in talking to congress about how we do this. and the president is committed to not, not doing this. and we need to focus on
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investigating in infrastructure and we'll make sure we plan for the 21st century. traditionally people have thought about infrastructure as roads and bridges, but in talking to ceo's over the last several weeks they've also made clear that it is critical that we investigate in broadband technology which will help our small businesses grow and in semi conductors which are critical in every gadget we use in the united states today. in addition to investing in infrastructure, we must invest in research and development to continue to lead the world in innovation, and finally we need to take steps to unlock the potential of the american workers by investing our care economy and our apprenticeship. the president is clear we need to make these investments and looks forward to working with the members of congress to ensure that we do this. >> well, that didn't really answer my question. you said no compromise on the covid relief but the president
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has signaled that he will compromise on the infrastructure. how low is he willing to go? >> so fareed, the president has said that he's willing to work with members of congress to invest in infrastructure. i don't think it is a question of how low we're willing to go. it comes down to a question of composition. as you well know, as you've written about this in "the washington post," investing in infrastructure is critical in the u.s. economy and we need to do this well and the reality is this is bipartisan. republicans and democrats have talked about the need to invest in infrastructure and the key really is how do we do this, not if we do this. and i think members across the aisle agree with this. over the course of the last several days i've had a chance to talk it members of congress, and their question is about what we do more and the president has laid out a plan and looking forward to working with congress to implementing it. >> so do you commit that, if that effort at bipartisanship doesn't seem to be going
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somewhere, if republicans end up saying they're going to oppose it no matter which, which seems highly likely, will the administration push this be done through a reconciliation process, and will it push joe manchin to vote for it? >> so fareed, the president looks forward to working closely with the members of congress to try to implement this in terms of a bipartisanship basis. i know a number of my colleagues are working to figure that out. what i'm here to you about is our economic strategy and that is to try to gre the economy going forward by making these investments. the president is committed to taking the time to talking to members of congress about what this plan looks like and but he's also made clear that the thing we're also committed to doing is making sure we make the investments in the american economy because their critical to our growth, not only today but into the future. these are the same investments that our counter parts in china are making and if we don't make these investments, the american economy will fall behind. >> is it fair to say if this infrastructure bill does not go
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through in something like the president has planned, it would be a serious blow to his vision for the united states, for his presidency? >> fareed, i think it is fair to say, if we don't put together an infrastructure package that unleashes the potential of the united states economy, invests in our workers and ensures that we make the american economy more competitive, it means american will be less competitive on the global stage. fundamentally, the infrastructure bill is underwritten by the tenet of the fact that we know in order for america to compete in the 21st century we need to make investments today. these are investments that republicans and democrats have called for over the years. president laid out a plan to do this and he looks forward to working with congress to make sure that this happens. >> let me ask you about the global tax proposal, which, you know, a number of people argue it is a fine idea, it will not happen, because countries like
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ireland will not actually raise their corporate tax rates, because they want to attract all of those companies, and the result will be the u.s. will have raised its rates, other countries like ireland or luxembourg or liechtenstein won't and we'll end up being uncompetitive. >> so, fareed, i think the competitiveness is something the president cares deeply about. our tax proposal is underwritten by the idea he wants to create an international tax system that rewards companies that create jobs, not rewards companies that come up with innovative strategies for avoiding taxation. the minimum tax has been around for a long time but this week secretary yellen gave a speech in which we want to reach an agreement to come up with a regime to make sure that companies have to pay their fair share around the world. in order to accomplish that, we need to come to an international agreement. and we're assured by the fact
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that in our conversations with our international counterparts they've made clear it is important to reach an agreement on an international global minimum tax. you've seen the statements that i've seen as well from our counterparts in germany and france and around the would that they support the u.s. proposal to do this. we recognize that it is going to take a negotiation to get there. but we also know that every country in the world recognizes the need to have more revenues in order to support their growth going forward. and we think that the proposal that we've made is a serious one that countries are considering, and we also think that in working with congress we would roll out a case for why the united states is taking this steps to make our economy more competitive, and instead of a race to the bottom, we need a race to creating a level playing field in which we no lower compete on who is the lowest tax rate but who is creating the most jobs and who has the best
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infrastructure and the most innovative economy going forward. >> mr. deputy secretary, pleasure to have you on, sir. >> thank you so much for having me, fareed. take care. next on "gps", it is in the united states' best interest to get back into the nuclear deal with iran? a debate when we come back.
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it was diplomacy of a different kind in vienna as top diplomats from britain, china, france and germany and russia went back and forth from meetings with the american and iranian delegation. negotiators are hoping they're able to bring the u.s. back into the deal and iran back into full compliance. will it work? let's bring on today's panel, kim gattas covered the middle east for 20 years for the bbc, now contributing writer at "the atlantic." reuel marc gerecht is from the foundation for the defense of democracy. he was a middle east specialist for the cia. and vali nasr is from the john hopkins school for advanced international studies and a senior adviser to the state department under president department.
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vali, give us a sense of -- what is the state of play right now? why is it that what seems like something that could be very simple, joe biden said we'll be back in the iran deal because we thought it was a good way to keep iran contained and not developing nuclear companies, the iranians said if the u.s. comes back, we'll return to the deal. that seems like a fairly simple thing to happen, and here we are neither side is in the deal. >> well, first of all, joe biden did not go back to the deal very quickly. he essentially sat on trump sanctions and demanded that iran go into compliance first. the iranians saw this as additional u.s. pressure to get concessions from them and then they dug in by saying they're going to enrich further and perhaps escalate in the region. but the problematic is that the nuclear deal -- some aspects of it will expire during president
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biden's tenure of office, by 2023. and the united states is facing a dilemma of how to lift sanctions on iran and yet get iran incentivized to negotiate to follow on deals or other issues that are of concern to the united states. the iranians don't want to do that. each side is contemplating how to respond to the other's position and both of them have very difficult domestic situations to deal with. so as a result, the process is very slow. vienna was a good step forward but it is only the first step. we'll see how it moves from there. >> meanwhile, something very strange has happened in the last few hours. a suspicious blackout has struck in iran's nuclear site. this is a very important site in iran for its nuclear program and one that people suspected was the one that kind of had the closest or fastest pathway to
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nuclear weapons if they were ever to decide to convert from nuclear energy to nuclear weapons. kim, what does this mean? people are suspicious and suspect that this is an israeli operation that is designed to sabotage the natanz site. what is your thought? >> there have been a lot of similar accidents over the last year or so during the trump administration, particularly and of course this one now, which we all assume and there has been illusions including from israeli officials that this is the work of israeli sabotage. what complicates the negotiations with iran, as vali was indicated, for the u.s. it is that it was operating now in a region that is different from when the obama administration was there, and we'll have
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players like israel trying to put extra pressure on iran while the u.s. is negotiating in vienna. similarly, i expect the iranians to up the pressure in the region and use their leverage whenever they have it, and that includes lebanon and iraq. >> reuel, explain why you suspect your point of view, which is that the united states should not reengage. which is -- the trump strategy in a sense here. the biden administration right now is in a very similar position. so as you know, the simple argument for it has been iran was on a path to developing nuclear energy sufficient to be able to weaponize. the nuclear deal did arrest that path, nobody disagrees with that and enrichment went way down, shipped off enriched uranium and it has removed the constraints from itself. aren't we back in a situation
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where the iranians are, maybe not racing, but ambling towards greater nuclear capacity and what -- how would you stop that? >> well, i mean, absolutely the iranians are moving forward. it is an excellent pressure tactic. they want the sanctions lifted. listen, a nuclear deal was -- had many, many weaknesses. it was far from ideal. that is why secretary of state tony blinken sayes there needs to be an addendum which is stronger and longer. the iranians, of course, aren't going to do that. i don't see a happy ending to this. i suspect the americans want this new deal or resumption of the jcpoa more than the iranians do, so they'll make a lot of concessions. however, as vali said, they lose
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any leverage for follow-on deal, and the sunset clause is particularly on the construction of advanced centrifuges are coming out as rapidly. so it is a very untenable situation for the biden administration. you have to remember, the obama administration premised i think the entire negotiation strategy on a hope, a belief that if the united states were nicer, that tehran would be nicer, that engagement, particularly commercial engagement, would somehow moderate the regime. and i think the events since 2012 have dispatched that illusion, which makes this very transactional, which is why i think the biden administration is hesitating. >> vali, how would you respond to reuel's point about the hopes for the deal? >> i agree that the hopes are not -- are not great. largely because this is the situation that president trump put us in. we don't know how things would have unfolded had the united states followed a different
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course. i also would say that iran did not get everything that it expected under the deal. it also thought that that was a bad deal. and also after the deal was signed, the united states gave the tens of billion dollars of weaponry to iran's main regional rivals which actually accelerated an arms race in the region. but we are at a point where the united states has certain foreign policy priorities that are not about the middle east. it needs to focus on china. the white house said that the domestic scene is a priority even for national security. it wants to extricate itself from afghanistan and the middle east, and iran is the most urgent reason that might keep the united states in -- or get it involved in another war in the region, particularly over the nuclear program. so yes, that is iran's leverage. iran could make itself a bigger problem, and then the united states is going to face a question, does it want to stay in this region and get engaged in another war or de-escalate
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and move forward? and to de-escalate it needs to get the iran nuclear program in some kind of constraint, it may not be ideal but it is necessary for the united states to extricate itself in the region. and vienna is the first step toward that. and the urgency that the united states is feeling in vienna is because of what reuel said, that the united states could apply pressure to united states and expect iran to fold has not happened. the u.s. changed strategy because it realized that iranians are happy to sit where they are for another two years, the united states isn't. >> when we come back, i'm going to ask this excellent panel what to make of two other wars, afghanistan and yemen, when we come back.
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and we are back with kim gattas, reuel marc gerecht and vali nasr. kim, yemen has the worst humanitarian crisis in the world right now. millions people on the verge of starvation and hundreds of thousands have died. what is the state of play in yemen right now? is there any hope of a resolution? >> you know, fareed, the middle east is definitely a region that the biden administration would like to extricate itself from. as vali pointed out, it has other priorities, china, climate change, domestic issues.
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but i do think that, unless it manages to put certain things back on right track, including yemen, including iran and iran's containing regional behavior and militias, the u.s. will keep finding itself being dragged back into the middle east. so what we're seeing at the moment is an effort to try to bring peace to yemen, with a peace process led by the u.n., with the u.s. envoy to yemen being involved as well, is just getting underway and which is one step forward. it should also involve pressure on saudi arabia to end the blockade with security guarantees for saudi arabia. because as you put pressure on the saudis and you use a tougher tone the needs to get concessions from the audis, you neat to get concessions from the houthis and be mindful of the context in which this is
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happening. because when you put pressure on saudis, while you're negotiating with the iranians in vienna and not asking the iranians to moderate their behavior in the region, then you risk making the same mistake that the obama administration did when it engaged with iran in 2012, 2015, which is so swing from one side to the other. and what i believe this administration is trying to do is to find a better balance in the way it approaches both iran and saudi arabia and that is really become a relationship between three countries like a ménage à trois. >> it seems unlikely that you'll get a deal in yemen before you get a deal with iran. in other words, the iranians do seem to have enough influence to keep the pressure on yemen until they feel the united states is accommodating them. i want to ask you a point that vali made, which is that the policy of maximum pressure toward iran which has been tried by the united states for 35
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years now and has tried -- double down by on the trump administration on the theory they were going to collapse and the economy was going to collapse and the regime would collapse. it never really worked out, right. so why do we -- why do we seem to learn something from that? i would argue if you look at cuba, venezuela, there are so many countries where you tighten the sanctions and it seems like the regime and the hardliners get more comfortable because they're empowered in that process. >> well, actually, i don't think maximum pressure campaign has been the american policy for 35 years. i mean, we have not even engaged in the containment strategy of this islamic republic. usually they strike out and engage in terrorism and the united states does nothing. we've only had really severe sanctions and again with great resistance during the obama administration, for a few years. so i'm not a big fan of economics beating ideology.
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i think ideology trumps economics every time. that is why in yemen they won't yield. they're in a perfect situation in yemen with limited assistance to the houthis, the shiites who are been hezbollah-ized, becoming much more radicalized, we could argue about the reasons for that, but they're able to torment the saudis. and they're not very good at warfare. a blockade could be more humane but they're not capable of doing a lot down there without american assistance, and you remove that blockade and the iranians are going to do what they are already doing in ch is bring in heavy missilery and shoot it at the saudis. so the saudis are in a real pickle. mohammed bin salman, the crown prince, isn't talented geostrategicly. he's a bit of a rhetorical mess. but he had also showed himself fairly weak toward the iranians after what happened in 2019 when they attacked the oil
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facilities. so the only way this is going to get better is the american presence has to increase. we have to get more involved, not less involved. and i think that is highly unlikely under the biden administration. the trump administration didn't want to do it either. >> vali, i don't want to let you go. we only have a minute left, but i want to ask you, joe biden has always thought that the afghan war was not worth doubling down on. it seems as though he's right in the sense that no matter what we've done 20 years later, the taliban remains very strong. is the best strategy to find an horror way to move on. and again we only have a minute. >> it goes down to what is america's foreign policy priority. where does he want to put military resources, in afghanistan or to focus on china
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and other issues. if he wants to fight the taliban for another 20 years, it can continue in the region. and i think afghanistan is also window on to the middle east. there are a lot of conflicts in the middle east but the united states has to decide what is it willing to live with and when it is going to give up the perfect for the good. >> very well said. vali nasr, kim gattas and reuel marc garkt. next on gps, in less than a quarter century turkey went from being the shiny example of a nation striving to be a full fledged democracy to inliberal democracy. what in the world, when we back.
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now for out "what in the world" segment. an awkward scene unfolded at an anchor summit between the european union and turkey. when it was time to get comfortable, charles michelle had a seat as did erdogan but in the game of not so musical chairs, the european commission president was relegated to a nearby couch. among the topics discussed at the very same meeting, turkey's handling of women's rights. the incident may just have been an embarrassing mixup but it is emblematic of the increasing feelings toward the west. not so long ago the two were almost in lockstep after joining
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a customs union with the european union in the mid 1990s, turkey, a member of nato, officially began negotiations to become a full member of the european union in 2005. but 15 years later, in 2019, the european parliament voted to suspend the negotiations on turkey's accession, citing the powerful presidential system and human rights abuses there. in just a decade and a half, turkey was an icon of liberal democratic progress to a democracy in name only. what is the world happened? in many ways, the story of turkey's authoritarian turn is the story of president erdogan. back in the early 2000s, then the prime minister, was commended in the west as a reformer eager to make the country's democratic institutions more open. in his first term as p.m., health care and infrastructure
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improved and institutions were brought closer to european standards. gdp growth soared as did the hype around turkey's man with a plan. but that plan didn't end up the way the west had hoped. as steven cook wrote in "the atlantic" erdogan won a 2007 political standoff with the military, a sign of huge popular support. shortly thereafter, the french president was elected after he made opposition to turkish access to the e.u. a key part of his campaign. before sarkozy, germany's angela merkel had already poured cold water on turkey's european aspirations. the turkish public reacted to the european hostility. one study found that the share of turkey's population enthusiastic about joining the e.u., fell from 73% in 2004, to just 38% in 2010. with e.u. membership seemingly
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out of reach, koch writes that erdogan aban onned his efforts through reforms and started to consolidate his personal power. emboldened by his popularity, erdogan prosecuted deep state opponents and jailed opposition figures and journalists. his party took over state media, constitutional reforms allowed him to back courts with judges loyal to him. all of this was before the 2016 coup attempt when a faction of the turkish mimt tried to over throw erdogan. the turkish president responded with a stalinish purge. they were called employees deemed insufficiently loyal. the "wall street journal" put the number of civil servants dismissed or suspended after the coup attempt at close to 150,000.
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today erdogan has a stranglehold over the political, judiciary and media and more. freedom house has raided turkey not free since 2018. i first coined the term in liberal democracy in the late 1990s, when i warned that elections and individual liberties and rights were being de-coupled in parts of the world. i worried about the philippines, pakistan and peru and wrote that inliberal democracy was a growth industry. back then, turkey still seemed like a rare example of a nation successfully reforming to become a genuine liberal democracy. in the space of two decades, it has become one of that growth industry's most notorious heavy weights. today it is the poster child for illiberal democracy. next on "gps", life lessons from the great fashion designer diane von furstenberg, when we come back.
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what a life. diane von furstenberg was born in belgium in 1946 to a mother who had been liberated from auschwitz just eight months earlier. dvf is one of the most successful business women. and in the process she became a principal mover in a different kind of liberation. women's lib. and now she has important lessons to impart to us all, her new book is titled "own it, the secret to life." welcome to diane. >> thank you so much for having me.
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>> why did you write this book? you've done so much things over a long life. what prompted this book? >> well, i think that i have reached an age where it is important for me to use my voice, my experience, my knowledge, and everything i know in order to have other women be the women they want to be. so i wrote it -- i picked 268 words that mean -- that speak to me, and i realize to be in charge is first and foremost a commitment to ourselves. it is owning who we are. we own our imperfection, they become our assets. we own our vulnerability, and it becomes our strength. so all of these words go back to own it. because i think that i realize that the secret to life, to everything is to own it. just be responsible. >> when i saw your book, i thought of a moment that has happened recently with you that seemed to highlight it. so the "new york times" decided in the middle of covid to write an article on your company and
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how it was facing a lot of difficulties. and what i was struck by was that your interview, you talked to the reporter, you were completely frank, you didn't try to do what many ceo's do which is to spin it well. t so in a sense was that a conscious decision to own those failures? >> i mean, there's no other way to do it. first of all, when they called me i was at the beginning of resetting everything. i said to the reporter, i can tell you something this morning by the afternoon it won't be valuable anymore because it's constantly changing. but the reason why i kid speak to the reporter is to help other designers, to help other people who are facing the same difficulties, and for them to know that owning it is what you have to do. whatever it is. >> what do you think happens to
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fashion after covid, both pandemic, do we return back to normal, has it changed? >> you know, no one knows. two things that -- two huge energies happen during covid. on one side we all love nature so much more. and on the other side we have accelerated into the virtual world by five to ten years. society will change. will people wear clothes? of course they will wear clothes. i mean, fashion is always a reflection of our time. so fashion will change. for sure. everything will change. the way we shop, the way we -- the way we live, the way we work, and i don't think any of us can really predict it. but of course fashion will go on. >> what do you think has changed about young women in the decades you've watched? do you think -- has women's lib succeeded in all respects? what does a young woman today
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look like compared to when you were starting out? >> you know, it's very funny. for me, i surround myself with very young people because i have an established brand, an older brand so it is very huge a library, a huge archive. so it's very important that the people who design for me are very young. then they look at the archives and look at the coats and look at all the libraries that we have, but they give it their touch. young women today love the '70s. that's when i was a young woman. so i guess that women today, i mean, this -- they are much more -- they are, again, very happy to -- about liberation. i was a feminist. i was really a feminist. the generations under me, they took it for granted but the generation now, they are true
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feminists, and they're true advocates, and i love them. >> well, i can give you an endorsement of the book that is more important than mine, my 18-year-old daughter who is just graduating from high school read it, and absolutely loved it, read it cover to cover in one sitting. >> i know, that was -- that was a surprise. i didn't expect that that -- the reaction from young people. and that's a huge compliment. >> pleasure to have you on. and we will be back.
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for the last look this week i will ask your indulgence to talk about something very personal. we are approaching 3 million covid deaths worldwide. and people have often pointed out that behind these statistics are individual human beings. this week my mother, fatma zakaria became one of those statistics, she died of complications related to covid in india. she was 85. if there's a single person most responsible for who i am today and the things that i have achieved in the world large or small it's my mother. so i thought i would tell you a little bit about her. >> we have lived in bombay.
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my parents, my grandparents, my children, and i. >> she was born in 1936. in what was then bombay, in what was then british india. she grew up in a large loving family with a father she adored but who passed away when she was just 8 years old. she went to isabella college in india, an american style liberal arts campus that inculcated a live long affection for america and americans. she became a social worker, working to educate underprivileged children but soon after marrying my father and at his urging she moved into journalism, starting out as a children's columnist. she moved up fast. by the 1970s she was one of a handful of women with a senior role in the indian media. it was a man's world, and she had to endure all kinds of double standards. she never complained. just worked harder and kept moving up. she interviewed figures like
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margaret thatcher and wrote a cover story on islam that became a legendary best seller. she also wrote a cover story about dropping off my brother at his college, a love letter to american higher education that defends it against all its critics. after decades as a journalist, she returned to her first love, and ran the large educational campus that my father and she had set up, tripling the number of students served, which now stands at 17,000. >> education is an important medium of social transformation. the benefits of education and training ultimately accrue to multiple sectors of society. >> for all her accomplishments, when asked what she was proudest of she would say her role as a mother, utterly devoted to that job. staying up until the wee hours to thep us with homework but
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also crucially taking us seriously. i remember us kids around the dinner table arguing with her about what should go on the cover of the magazine that week. i was probably 10, has the strong opinions even then. the greatest sign of her love for her children was that she encouraged all of us to go to america for college, even though she knew that it could well mean that we would end up staying here. she wanted the best for us, even at the cost of her own happiness. people talk about the story of immigration as one big happy tale. but in every immigrant's story there is sadness as well. the sadness of a country, a culture, a family left behind. a mother who would quietly weep at night, distant from the child she loved. i feel that sorrow of distance this week because thanks to the pandemic i was not able to see my mother for the last time, nor bury her, which is why i thought
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i might take this opportunity and say, good-bye, ma. i love you. thanks to all of you were being part of my program this week, and i will see you next week. ♪ hello, everyone, thank you so much for joining me this sunday. i'm fredricka whitfield. the u.s. breaks a new coronavirus vaccine record as a surge in michigan becomes a reality check for the nation. the cdc announcing that more than 4.6 million people received a shot on saturday, shattering last weekend's record. the u.s. administered nearly 22 million doses in one week, which is more than the population of florida. and there's more optimism. the department of health and human services says that fewer than one in 28,000 people who